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- 1000BC - 501BC
Taxila, also known as the Ancient Gandhāran city of Takshashila, is an ancient site in the Punjab Province of Pakistan dating back as far as the sixth century BC.
One of the factors which make Taxila such a significant archeological site is the fact that, over its five century lifespan, it witnessed the evolution of numerous civilizations, including the Persians, Greeks and Hindus. It was also an important site in the development of the art of Gandhara.
Taxila itself is actually made up of a complex of ruins, including the Khanpur Mesolithic cave, several Buddhist monasteries, medieval mosques and four settlements called Bhir, Sirkap, Saraidala and Sirsukh. In particular, Bhir was probably the earliest settlement in Taxila and, in its excellent condition, boasts street structures, house foundations and stone walls. Alexander the Great conquered Bhir during his victorious route through Taxila.
Sirkap, which was probably founded by the Greeks in the second century BC and destroyed by the Kushanas in the first century AD, also offers a wealth of both religious and cultural archeological finds, particularly as relates to its Hellenistic structure.
Taxila is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a great place to discover the roots of Buddhism, the art of Gandhara and the ancient culture of the subcontinent. If you’re only planning a day’s visit, the Taxlia Museum is probably the best place to get an overview and to see some of the relics as well as the artwork.
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Address: Taxila, Khanpur Road, off the Grand Trunk Road, Taxila, Pakistan
Taxila is located approx. 30km north of Islamabad via the Grand Trunk Road. It is accessible by train line Rs 5 from Pir Wadhai in Rawalpindi to Taxila Railway Station (50 minutes). Bus 25 also goes from here (40 minutes).
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